Staff Blog: Rupert Porter
To give some context, I’m currently a student in my second year of studying to become a primary school teacher. That should make it clear why I’m a volunteer at BANG-their work is something that will greatly benefit my education of…well, education! I’ve taught in a few different schools, as a student teacher, teaching assistant, and intervention coordinator, so I have met a variety of children with a range of backgrounds, family dynamics, behavioral traits, and talents. I feel this has helped me greatly in my studies, and in my work at BANG.
My greatest interest is in behaviour. Children rarely inherit behaviour from their family, they learn it. Many of us have probably been likened to someone in our family (do phrases like “You’re so much like your mother/father/brother/sister ring a bell?), and yet we don’t ask ourselves why this happens. Or why we sometimes show behaviour which differs greatly from those in our family!
While at BANG I met a young person who I was told barely spoke, was shy, and rarely engaged with sessions. When I met them and observed and took part in the session, working with them for a couple of the activities, I felt he was no more or less shy or quiet than a child who did not speak English as a mother tongue. What I found out afterwards was that until that session, he had been quiet and disengaged from the activities, and that the session I was part of was once of the best for him they had seen! I was astounded and overjoyed, and did not for a moment assume it was my presence that had prompted this change.
After a second session like this I began to question the reason for this sudden engagement. It occurred to me that it was likely not that I had done or said something that made them emerge from their shell, but simply that he had responded to me.
Essentially, it was that they chose to engage with me-I never had a say in the matter! And as a teacher I will probably find this happening from time to time, but I take comfort in the fact children, like all of us, sometimes just like or don’t like someone, and we don’t know why!
Words: Rupert Porter